Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

BARONS OF THE SEA by Steven Ujifusa
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 17, 2018

"A vivid account of larger-than-life if not always attractive characters and a technological marvel that briefly captivated the Victorian world."
Fifty years before the robber barons, immense fortunes in the young United States flowed to great shipping firms, a brutal, sometimes lucrative, and technologically creative enterprise brilliantly chronicled by naval historian Ujifusa (A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the S.S. United States, 2012). Read full book review >
OBAMA by Brian Abrams
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 10, 2018

"An entertaining, enlightening look at an administration that was never dull."
An oral biography of the Barack Obama administration, culled from interviews conducted between May 2016 and October 2017. Read full book review >

THE WIDOWER'S NOTEBOOK by Jonathan Santlofer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 10, 2018

"An expressive and poetic tribute to a wife and a marriage that died without warning."
When his wife dies, a man learns to live with the vacuum of space she's left behind. Read full book review >
THE PRISON LETTERS OF NELSON MANDELA by Nelson Mandela
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 10, 2018

"A valuable contribution to our understanding of one of history's most vital figures."
An epistolary memoir of Nelson Mandela's prison years. Read full book review >
THE WONDERFUL MR WILLUGHBY by Tim Birkhead
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 10, 2018

"Bird lovers and fans of well-written science history will love this revelatory and intoxicating biography."
An impressive biography of the "man who began the scientific study of birds." Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 10, 2018

"Fittingly, Vincent and Vladic close their enthralling, thrillerlike, meticulously researched book with the discovery of the wreckage, bringing the 85-year-old saga of the Indianapolis to a close."
A gripping study of the greatest sea disaster in the history of the U.S. Navy and its aftermath. Read full book review >
CITY OF DEVILS by Paul French
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 3, 2018

"A Casablanca without heroes and just the thing for those who like their crime stories the darkest shade of noir."
Fast-paced, plot-twisty true-crime tale of the kingpins of Shanghai's Old City, land of miscreant opportunity. Read full book review >
NORTHLAND by Porter Fox
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 3, 2018

"Richly populated with fascinating northlanders, Native Americans, and many border patrol agents, this is highly entertaining and informative travel literature."
The life and times of America's other border. Read full book review >
EMPRESS by Ruby Lal
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 3, 2018

"A page-turning, eye-opening biography that shatters our impressions of India as established by the British Raj."
Lal (South Asian History/Emory Univ.; Coming of Age in Nineteenth-Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness, 2013, etc.) shines a light on Nur Jahan (1577-1645), who ruled as co-sovereign in the Mughal court, taking her husband's place without actually usurping him. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 1, 2018

"Today, when studies are showing many Americans know little about the Holocaust, this will serve as a compelling remedy: a personal and universal account of brutality at its worst and of family devotion at its best."
The story of a father and son who struggled to survive in some of the Holocaust's most horrendous sites, from Buchenwald to Auschwitz to Mauthausen to Bergen-Belsen. Read full book review >
THE UNPUNISHED VICE by Edmund White
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 26, 2018

"A literary delicacy with more takeaways than one can count."
The celebrated author takes us through the many shades of literature. Read full book review >
CALL ME AMERICAN by Abdi Nor Iftin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 19, 2018

"A searing memoir filled with horrors that impressively remains upbeat, highly inspiring, and always educational."
Born to extreme poverty in 1985 in war-torn Somalia, Iftin chronicles the extraordinary obstacles he overcame to obtain residency in the United States. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >